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The Verdict on the Best Weight Loss Foods to Eat Every Day

We all know the saying "calories in, calories out" for weight loss, but what types of food should you be eating?

Ultimately, our total calorie consumption matters the most for weight loss. However, the quality of calories also matters. For quality calories, focus on the "biggest bang for your buck" foods for long-term success. For example, a 200 calorie snack from potato chips will affect you very differently compared to a 200 calorie snack from an apple and peanut butter.

Ultimately, there is no one magical food that will help you lose weight fast. In fact, those who promote fast weight loss or quick fixes by emphasizing one product or type of food tend to raise a big red flag in my book.

Short-term weight loss diets often fail because they are unsustainable. For long-term, sustainable weight loss, focus on a few main areas of your diet.

So what's the verdict on foods to eat for weight loss? Consume these foods on the regular to satisfy your hunger and help you to lose weight. Then, for even more insight, be sure to check out our list of the 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

1

Protein

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Protein gets a big rep when it comes to weight loss advice—and for good reason! Protein has the highest thermic effect on food. Meaning, it takes our body more calories to burn it off when compared to fat and carbohydrates.

Protein is also highly satiating. It takes a long time to digest and ultimately, keeps us full longer.

Choose lean proteins for weight loss like chicken breast, fish, turkey, egg whites, and tofu. For most people, starting with around the palm of your hand is a good starting place for protein portions. Even choosing one of these 19 High Protein Breakfasts That Keep You Full will make a huge difference.

2

Veggies

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Non-starchy vegetables are a great way to fill up your stomach when you're trying to lose weight. These types of veggies are high in fiber and nutrients and low in carbs.

Veggies are a great "bang for your buck" food as they are super low in calories, but can help increase the volume of your meals to prevent feeling deprived.

Choose non-starchy veggies and work toward filling half your plate at meals. These include leafy greens, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, mushrooms, zucchini, and many more!

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3

Complex carbs

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The type of carbs you choose matters for weight loss.

Generally, complex carbs have more fiber than their refined carbohydrate counterparts. The fiber in complex carbohydrates helps to keep us full longer. Complex sources of carbohydrates are foods like brown rice, whole grains, wheat bread, beans, quinoa, fruit, and lentils.

We want to choose these types of carbohydrates the majority of the time in order to feel full longer, have lasting energy between meals, and help moderate portion control at meals. Consider using one-quarter of your plate for complex carbohydrates.

4

Heart-smart fats

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Fat's reputation has gotten a bit of a makeover in recent years. Fat is healthy for us and contributes to nearly every cell in the body.

Fat is digested slowly and can increase feelings of fullness and satisfaction at meals. Heart-healthy fat sources include olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and moderate amounts of animal fats like butter, cheese, and red meat.

Choosing fats to add flavor and satisfaction at meals can be instrumental in your weight loss journey. Fat makes food taste good! Opt for one to three tablespoons of fat per meal as a general guideline.

5

Low-calories beverages

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From coffee to cocktails, the amount of calories that we can consume from beverages is quite staggering. Reducing these high-calorie liquids in our diet is one of the simplest ways to begin losing weight.

Swap your soda habit for bubbly water, your coffee concoction for a simple latte, and your evening cocktail for some herbal tea. These simple swaps will get you well on your way to weight loss.

For even more weight loss tips, read these next:

Caroline Thomason, RDN
Caroline is a women's health Registered Dietitian and diabetes educator based in Northern Virginia. Read more